- To recap: actor Nate Parker wrote, directed, starred in and produced the film Birth of a Nation a biopic on Nat Turner that Fox Searchlight bought for $17.5 million at Sundance with a contract to give it a wide release and an Oscar campaign.
- In 1999 Parker along with the film's co-writer was accused of raping a woman. People became curious because Parker was blowing up and started researching what happened. Parker tried to clear up his name by giving some pretty damning interviews where he comes off as manipulative.
- Last week the brother of Parker's victim gave an interview where he said that the victim had committed suicide in 2012 and blamed the rapes for her spiral into depression.
Two prominent black directors speak on the condidtion of anonymity about supporting Parker.
I don’t like the timing of this. I’m not defending his actions, but something is wrong about the way it went down.
It worries me that a film and a guy with so much promise gets cut down a month before his masterpiece gets released. The last two years have proven how much our stories matter to this industry, and this seems like a way to muffle a very important piece of work.
Edward Zwick and Mel Gibson (!) gave him directing advice:
I reached out to Edward Zwick. We went through, frame by frame, “Defiance” and “Glory” — the battle scenes. He was like, “This is what I did, and what I would have done differently.” It was an education few people get. I also reached out to Mel Gibson. Maybe three months later, I get a phone call — “Nate, it’s Mel.” “Mel who?” I took maybe 30 pages of notes. His best advice was don’t work on Sunday. He said: “You need a day off you’re going to direct yourself. I did this for seven months on ‘Braveheart.’ You need time for recovery and reflection — just sitting, drinking tea.” That’s exactly what I did. On Sunday, I would go into a dark room and drink tea.
On the financial sacrifices he made to get the movie funded:
But rather than going and taking a TV show, I felt I had to stay on this path. The darkest part of the journey is when things start to come together. I was the guy trying to do this noble thing. It wasn’t like I was trying to do a Marvel film.
On his hopes for the movie:
I don’t want this to be a film. I want it to be a movement. I don’t want it to be a moment in time. I want a launch pad for conversation around how we can deal with our trauma collectively. Then we can create a cultural shift.